I'm looking for the title of a series of novels I read as a teenager. I only have vague recollections but this is what I remember:

Written in the 70's or 80's.

An ex United Nations soldier commands a team that prepare potential colony worlds for habitation, eliminating any potential threats, constructing basic hab-units.

They use exoskeletal suits similar to the Powerloaders in Aliens.

I think the team were recruited from prisons and are offered pardons if they join. Each member is recruited due to their special abilities (skills not powers).

They become a troubleshooting team and each novel is about them overcoming the obstacles to colonising a specific planet.

I have a definite recollection that the United Nations was somehow involved.

Does anybody recognise this series?

  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! ? What language was it in? Can you describe any additional plot points? Please try to provide some more detail.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 18:29
  • It was an English language series, but unfortunately that is everything I can recall. Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 18:57
  • is it "The Weapon" ? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weapon_(novel)
    – Wolverine
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 12:39
  • No, it does have some similarities but it was published in 2005, the series I am looking for was definitely published in the 70's/80's. Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


The Expendables series by Edmund Cooper (published under the pseudonym Richard Avery) matches all the points you list.

In the series of four books the exploratory team, known as "Expendables" as they are all felons due to the very high risks involved, are responsible for proving planets are ready for colonisation. All four books have the same three lead characters; Commander James Conrad, Lt Indira Smith and Ecologist Kurt Kwango. The other four members of the team change for each book.

  • The exploration programme is a UN project, called EXPEND.

  • One item of equipment used is powered exo-skeletons.

cover of "The Expendables, 1: The Deathworms of Kratos" by Richard Avery

  • 1
    This is definitely the one, the character's names sound familiar. Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 23:18

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